Proportionate and disproportionate policy responses to climate change: core concepts and empirical applications

Moshe Maor, Jale Tosun*, Andrew Jordan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


A fresh perspective on policy-making and planning has emerged which views disproportionate policy as an intentional policy response. A disproportionate policy response is understood to be a lack of ‘fit’ or balance between the costs of a public policy and the benefits that are derived from this policy, and between policy ends and means. This paper applies this new perspective on the proportionality of policy-making to the area of climate change. The first part of the paper discusses the underlying causes of disproportionate policy responses in broad terms and then applies the theoretical reasoning to understand the conditions in which they are likely to appear in relation to climate change. These conditions are hypothesized to relate to four main factors: economic considerations; levels of public demand; focusing events; and strategic considerations. It concludes with the suggestion that societal actors may be able to manipulate these four factors to encourage politicians to adopt policies that mitigate climate change more rapidly than is currently the case in most countries.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)599-611
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Climate change
  • disproportionality
  • over-reactions
  • policy responses
  • under-reactions


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